Deer Hunting: Getting Started

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Published on: Oct. 23, 2013

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creek bottoms. Plan approaches to your stand that minimize the chance of spooking deer. And no matter how heavily deer are using a spot, don’t hunt it if the wind is not in your favor.

There are deer-hunting products on the market that claim to mask human scent. They may reduce human scent, but they don’t mask it. The only way to beat a deer’s nose is to position yourself downwind from where you think deer will approach.

Pace and Patience

If you plan to bowhunt, don’t make the mistake of hunting hard at the beginning of the season and burning yourself out. Your best chances of seeing deer are at the peak of the breeding season or rut, which is usually the first 10 days in November. Serious bowhunters often take vacation time this week and hunt every day up until rifle season. When a doe comes into standing heat, she does so for just 24 hours, but for several days before and after this receptivity, she is releasing pheromones that spur bucks into attempts at breeding. Since the does aren’t willing to breed, a lot of chasing goes on.

The peak of the rut is the time to stay on the stand from first light until dark, for deer can be up and moving at any time. If you don’t have patience for long sits, develop the patience. Bring food, water, books — whatever it takes to keep you on stand. Patience is a skill. The best deer hunters have it.

Become an Expert Shot

Practice with your bow or rifle until you are an expert shot. Being an expert typically takes lots of practice. Work at it. If you are a bowhunter, and plan to hunt from an elevated stand, make sure you practice shooting from one. From elevated stands, you must bend at the waist to prevent shooting higher than your point of aim. When a deer approaches you want to make the most of the situation.

The only shot to take on a deer with bow and arrow is the heart/lung area. With a rifle, the same area is a good choice. Though it wastes a little meat, a shot through both shoulders is also good because it hits the heart/lung area and drops a deer in its tracks.

Cleaning and Cooking Deer

When it all comes together and you tag a deer, you face

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